Santa shortage sparks grotto crisis as cost of living hits Christmas

Santa visits for kids may be less "ho, ho, ho" and more "no, no, no" due to a mass shortage.

Grotto bosses say there is a drought of Father Christmases applying for the role this year. The cost of living crisis is being blamed.

Karen Grout, who runs a garden centre in Sussex, said: "This is the hardest year I’ve ever known for getting a Santa. I think the last few years have battered Britain and I do understand people not feeling overly festive. No one has any money, the dark nights are drawing in, and then the state of the world at the moment. Hopefully the magic of Christmas will come back soon."

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Agency Hire Santa, which supplies grottos around the country, said: "We are always on the lookout for Father Christmas and elves to help spread festive cheer. We need it now more than ever."

Great Grottos, of Romford Essex, added: "We need ­people to ­apply right now please."

This is the second year in a row that Brits' Christmas plans have been thwarted by the cost of living crisis. In 2022 parents called for Christmas Jumper Day at school to be axed in a bit to keep costs down, the Daily Star reported at the time.

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"Of all the days that should be cancelled now with the cost of living 'Christmas jumper day,'" one wrote. "Happy to give a donation to the cause but does everyone need the pressure to buy Christmas jumpers for their kids?"

Meanwhile another added: "Why are Christmas jumpers so expensive?????"

Recent statistics by YouGov suggest the average Brit spent £642 on presents alone last year, with the festive season likely to take a toll on our wallets again in 2023.

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